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The impetus for this book is the shift in welfare policy in Western Europe from state responsibilities to individual and community responsibilities. The book examines the ways in which policies associated with advanced liberalism and New Public Management can be identified as influencing professional practices to promote personalisation, participation, empowerment, recovery and resilience. In examining the concept of ‘responsibilization’ from the point of view of both the ‘responsibilized client and welfare worker’, the book breaks from the traditional literature to demonstrate how responsibilities are negotiated during multi-professional care planning meetings, home visits, staff meetings, focus groups and interviews with different stakeholders.
The settings examined in the book can be described as on the ‘margins of welfare’ - mental health, substance abuse, homelessness services and probation work, where the rights and responsibilities of clients and workers are uncertain and constantly under review. Each chapter approaches the management of responsibilities from a particular angle by combining responsibilization theory and discourse analysis to examine everyday encounters. Taken together, the chapters paint a comprehensive picture of the responsibilization practices at the margins of welfare services and provide an extensive discussion of the implications for policy and practice.
Drawing upon both the governmentality literature and everyday encounters, the book provides a broad approach to a key topic. It will therefore be a valuable resource for social policy, public administration, social work and human service researchers and students, and social and health care professionals.